There’s so much to do in Manatee! Here’s 12 fun things
Are you ready for the weekend? Us too.
If you don’t have plans yet, we’re here to help.
Here’s a hand-picked guide to fun times around Bradenton, Sarasota, Tampa Bay and beyond.
Are we missing a big event? Drop us a line at email@example.com.
Fun for everyone
Music on Main: Music on Main brings family-friendly fun to the heart of Lakewood Ranch on the first Friday of every month.
For September’s shindig, classic rock band GoodbyEddy will play, and a live DJ will follow.
Food vendors, beer trucks and kids activities will line the street.
The event raises funds for a different local non-profit each month; this time, Lakewood Ranch YMCA will benefit.
Details: 6-9 p.m. Friday. 8100 Lakewood Main St., Lakewood Ranch. Free. 941-907-9243.
Something tasty: ArtCenter Manatee is kicking off its 82nd season with the debut of two new exhibits this weekend.
The first is a showcase of artwork created by masters of their respective crafts — the ArtCenter Manatee instructors.
The second is an open, all-media exhibit on a subject that we can all relate to: food. See how local artists interpreted the theme in the new exhibit titled “Something Tasty.”
An opening reception for both exhibits will be held from 5-7 p.m. Sept. 12 and feature live demos.
Details: On display through Oct. 4. ArtCenter Manatee, 209 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. Free.
Stick ‘em up: All aboard and full steam ahead to the Wild West, where the plucky traveler can stake a claim to adventure.
But wait — there are valuable goods stowed on your locomotive, and bandits are roaming the countryside.
See if you can survive an encounter with the “Hole in the Head Gang” during the Florida Railroad Museum’s train robbery ride.
Grandparents ride free this weekend.
Details: Trains leave at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Ages 3-11: $12. Ages 12 and up: $16.
Info: 941-776-0906. frrm.org.
Village of the Arts Art Walk: There’s always something new to see in Bradenton’s most creative neighborhood.
The popular monthly Art Walk features open galleries, studios, specialty shops, healing arts, food, music and more.
Whether you fancy folk art or fine art, creative cuisine, antiques, records, quilting or a psychic reading, Village of the Arts has something special to offer every visitor.
A mini art market will be held throughout the Art Walk at Art Junkies Studio, 1130 12th St. W., Bradenton.
Details: 6-9:30 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. Village of the Arts, 1113 12th St. W., Bradenton. Free.
Free honey bee tour: Find out what it takes to produce delicious local honey during a free tour of the Sarasota Honey Company bee garden.
The tours include an introduction to beekeeping in Florida, agricultural history and a local honey tasting. If you like it, pick up a bottle to take home from the gift shop.
Private adult tours and field trips for kids are also available.
Details: 10:15 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Sarasota Honey Company, 2227 University Parkway, Sarasota. Free.
IT Chapter Two: In this scary sequel, Pennywise, who is arguably the creepiest clown ever (we’re looking at you, Ronald McDonald) reappears in the small town of Derry, Maine, to sow terror once more.
The kids who bested the clown in the first installment are all grown up now, but that isn’t going to make things any easier this time around.
Details: Playing in theaters everywhere starting Friday.
At the museum
Semper Paratus: The U.S. Coast Guard has a long legacy of protecting Florida’s waters, and a temporary exhibit on display at the Florida Maritime Museum explores the past and present role of the seafaring military branch.
“The United States Coast Guard remains always ready — Semper Paratus — to serve in Florida’s tropical and turbulent waters,” museum staff says. “’Always Ready: United States Coast Guard in Florida’ — curated by the Florida Maritime Museum — explores the exciting stories and brave people behind the Coast Guard in the sunshine state.”
Details: On display through Dec. 31. Florida Maritime Museum, 4415 119th St. W., Cortez. Free.
At the theater
Grey Gardens: Described as tragic, funny and unforgettable, this musical tells the story of a mother and daughter who fall from a posh, high-society lifestyle to a lonely and eccentric existence in a crumbling estate.
The stage work is based off of the the 1975 documentary of the same name.
Details: Through Sept. 22. Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 Third Ave. W., Bradenton $27-$40.
Info: 941-748-5875. manateeperformingartscenter.com.
Nature escape: Rye Preserve in Parrish offers recreational trails through acres of peaceful scenery, including Florida ecosystems like pine scrub and oak hammock.
Bicycles are allowed on designated trails, and there are also prime spots for fishing, kayaking and canoeing, picnicking and wildlife viewing.
Tent camping sites are available on Friday and Saturday nights on a first-come, first-served basis.
Details: Open daily sunrise to sunset. 905 Rye Wilderness Trail, Parrish. Free. Camping fee is $20 per night plus tax.
Aquarium adventure: An astounding 14,000 animals are housed at The Florida Aquarium in Tampa.
Explore cool blue halls teeming with sea creatures of the deep, coral reef critters and wetland wonders, and even pet a jellyfish.
The aquarium recently made headlines when lab staff were able to successfully reproduce coral in a lab setting — a good sign for endangered coral reefs the world over.
Travel Time: About an hour.
Details: 701 Channelside Dr., Tampa. Tickets from $15; prices vary by day.
Theme park fun
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure: Us poor muggles don’t have a chance of getting into Hogwarts, but luckily Floridians have the next best thing at “The Wizarding World of Harry Potter” in Orlando.
A new ride at Universal’s Islands of Adventure invites guests to take a wild ride with beloved half-giant Hagrid through a forest full of mythical creatures.
Not a Potter fan? You’ll still have fun. At nearly a mile in length, “Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure” is the new longest roller coaster ride in Florida, and it lasts about three and half minutes.
Details: Universal’s Islands of Adventure, 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando. $110 and up.
NEW IN TOWN — BubbaQue’s BBQ: There’s a new barbecue slinger in town.
This locally owned franchise boasts a fun an extensive menu featuring wings, salads, dinner plates, sandwiches, appetizers and a whole nacho section.
DRINK THIS — Locally crafted spirits: Well, we made it through another hurricane unscathed. That deserves a celebratory drink.
Recently opened Loaded Cannon Distillery is a perfect place to grab one with offerings of locally-made vodka, rum, gin and bourbon available in the tasting room. The distillery also offers tours on weekends.
Loaded Cannon Distillery is at 3115 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. Suite 110, Bradenton.
DON’T FORGET DESSERT — Long live local ice cream: Grabbing a cone at Tyler’s is a local tradition.
With a whopping list of 46 flavors of ice cream to choose from and a 35-year history of serving it up, this sweet shop seems to have cracked the code on winning over anyone with a sweet tooth.
The only thing left to do is find out what your favorite flavor is.
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Live music highlights
Details: 7-11 p.m. Friday. Woody’s River Roo, 5717 18th St. E., Ellenton. No cover.
Derek Lersch Band at Joyland: Derek Lersch is a Bradenton musician who writes country music with pop sensibility.
Details: 9:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Joyland Country Music Night Club, 5520 14th St. W., Bradenton. Cover: $5-$7.
Eric Von Band at Motorworks Brewing: Eric Von is a country music singer-songwriter from Cortez with Nashville experience.
Details: 7-11 p.m. Friday. Motorworks Brewing, 1014 Ninth St. W., Bradenton. No cover.
NoFilter at White Buffalo Salloon: NoFilter is a party band that brings extreme energy and exciting visual effects to hits from the ‘70s to now.
Details: 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday. White Buffalo Saloon, 5377 McIntosh Rd., Sarasota. $10.
Jason Haram Group at Darwin Brewing: Blues, funk, soul and jam sounds are the specialty of four-piece band The Jason Haram Group.
Details: 7:30-10:30 p.m. Saturday. Darwin Brewing Company and Taproom, 803 17th Ave. W., Bradenton. No cover.
Truality at Blue Rooster
Every Sunday, Blue Rooster hosts a Gospel Brunch Buffet with Southern comfort food and live gospel music from Truality.
Truality is a Sarasota band that performs gospel music in all new ways, incorporating R&B, jazz, funk and Latin rhythm.
Details: 11:15 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday. Blue Rooster, 1525 Fourth St., Sarasota. No cover.